about

Three Rivers Mothers’ Milk Bank: A labor of love

Right now, thousands of medically fragile babies are struggling. These babies and their families are working hard to get healthy. But in many cases, one of the biggest medical advantages they can have isn’t available. Human breast milk.

As physicians, lactation consultants, nurses, hospital administrators, clinicians, educators, and parents, we set out to ensure that every vulnerable infant could have the benefits of breast milk. And thrive.

We are grateful for the support of our whole community. We are making a difference. One ounce at a time.

Our Mission

“Three Rivers Mothers’ Milk Bank recognizes the importance of breast milk to optimize the health and well-being of all babies, especially medically vulnerable infants. When mothers’ own milk is unavailable, Three Rivers Mothers’ Milk Bank provides donor human milk, which is collected and processed according to the guidelines set forth by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America. We also aim to facilitate research and education in human lactation.”

Our History

Our Board of Directors was formed and we were incorporated as Three Rivers Mothers’ Milk Bank on October 30, 2013. We are a group of clinicians, nonprofits professionals and community volunteers working to establish a donor milk bank to serve the neonatal intensive care units and babies of PA, WV, and NJ.

Human Milk Banking Association of North America
HMBANA Logo1

A 501(c)(3), we are officially a milk bank under the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA). The Three Rivers Mothers’ Milk Bank adheres to strict guidelines for the “Establishment and Operation of a Donor Human Milk Bank,” published annually by HMBANA.

OUR STAFF

Denise2Denise O’Connor, BS, IBCLC: Founder and Executive Director

Denise is an IBCLC certified lactation consultant and La Leche League Leader (retired). She had been working with nursing mothers and their infants for over 18 years. Denise earned her degree in neuroscience from The University of Pittsburgh and worked in cognitive rehabilitation prior to becoming a lactation consultant in 2004. Through the years, she has done extensive board work in local non-profit organizations with a focus on women’s and children’s issues including Three Rivers Adoption Council, The Midwife Center, and The Pittsburgh Toy Lending Library.

Denise lives in Franklin Park with her husband Robert and their three children.

Margaret2Margaret DeLair, RN, Doula: Donor Intake Coordinator

Margaret began her career in nursing on the Labor, Delivery and Post-Partum Unit. She has also worked on a medical/surgical unit, as a surgical nurse with a plastic surgeon and as a substitute school nurse. She has had the experience of being a partner/co-owner in a biological and infectious substance training company. More recently she has enjoyed working as a birth doula. Margaret has had the pleasure of visiting Haiti and Guatemala on a number of medical mission trips. She is now extremely happy to have the opportunity to work at the Mid-Atlantic Mothers’ Milk Bank where her passion of working with young women can continue. She is the proud mother of two grown daughters.

DANIELLE GORMAN, RN, IBCLC: DONOR INTAKE COORDINATORDanielle Gorman, RN, IBCLC: Donor Intake Coordinator

Danielle returned to academia 10 years after completing her Bachelor’s degree in business administration to pursue her passion for women’s health. She graduated from CCAC’s nursing program 2011. During her time in nursing school she worked as a doula.  She is both a registered nurse and a board-certified lactation consultant who also works as a birth assistant at The Midwife Center for Birth and Woman’s Health. She previously worked at Magee Women’s Hospital on both High Risk Antepartum and Postpartum Units.

Danielle is thrilled to fulfill her desire to work closely with mothers and babies through her work at the Mid-Atlantic Mothers’ Milk Bank. Danielle and her husband have two boys, both delivered by midwives!

CYNDY VERARDI, BS: LAB MANAGERCyndy Verardi, BS: Lab Manager

Cyndy earned her Chemistry degree from Allegheny College in Meadville, PA. She worked 12 years in the paint industry and co-authored two patents before choosing to stay home to raise her family. Having breastfed all five of her children, including her twins, she came to truly appreciate the importance of breast milk when her youngest was born. Six weeks premature, he spent time in the NICU as well as additional hospitalizations and was later diagnosed with a rare thyroid condition and as a type 1 diabetic. Cyndy credits breast milk and his endocrinologists’ brilliance with saving his life.

“I am honored to now be in a position to facilitate the sharing of this life saving gift with our most vulnerable, medically fragile babies”

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Stephanie Ardell, M.D., Neonatalogist, Lancaster General
Mackenzie Baird, Esq., Associate, Buchanan, Ingersoll, and Rooney
Kelley L. Baumgartel, RN, BSN, PhD, University of Pittsburgh, School of Nursing
Debra Bogen, M.D., Medical Director, University of Pittsburgh Medical School
Beverly Curtis, MSN, PNP-BC, IBCLC,  Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Keystone Health
Jessica Devido, MSN, Ph.D, University of Pittsburgh
Jennifer Elliott, Pharm.D., Secretary, Asst. Professor, Duquesne University
Josette Fitzgibbons, Vice President, Mainstreets/Elm Street Coordinator, URA
Jen Kloesz, M.D., Asst. Professor, Pediatrics, UPMC, Director, Magee NICU
Kelly Kennedy, CRPC, Financial Planner, FamilyWealth Management Group
Nicholas Kennedy, Private Wealth Advisor, FamilyWealth Management Group
Jen Kloesz, MD, Director, NICU Magee–Women’s Hospital
Pamela Koerner, Pharm.D., Asst. Professor, Duquesne University
Alan Lantzy, M.D., Neonatologist, West Penn Hospital
Jan Mallak, CCE-CD-CPD, Treasurer, Executive Director, “Heart & Hands” Doula Service
Amber McCann, IBCLC, Marketing Coordinator, ILCA
Nicole Mutnansky, BSN, Nurse, PA Department of Health
Nora Curley Peace, Esq., President, Peace Consulting
Jim Padden, CPA, Manager, D’Anniballe & Company
Jeff Sarabok, Senior Manager, Central Admissions Office, UPMC

OUR MEDICAL ADVISORY BOARD

Abeer Azzuqa, MD, Neonatology, Magee-Women’s Hospital
Nancy Brent, M.D., Pediatrician
Beverly Brozanski, M.D., Director, NICU Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
Kim Costello, DO, Director, Neonatology, St. Luke’s Health Network
Kathy Donahue, MSN, RNC-OB, IBCLC, Director, Maternal-Child Services, Doylestown Hospital
Nilima Karamchandani, M.D., retired Director, NICU, West Penn Hospital
Judith Martin, M.D., Infectious Disease Specialist, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
Melissa Riley, M.D., Associate Director, NICU, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
Margaret Wasser, RN, IBCLC, RICN Conemaugh Health System